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Brian

Hardware-Based Encryption - The Better Way to Secure USB Drives

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Contributing writer Dustin Sklavos has authored a timely piece on secure USB drives for the site.

When floppy disk drives started going the way of the Dodo, I know I personally wasn't entirely sure who the heir apparent was. ZIP disks had potential, but were too pricy. Writing CDs and DVDs may have gotten faster over the years, but it's still too time-consuming. Essentially the purposes that the floppy disk occupied – dissemination of data and portable storage – wound up being bifurcated into two pieces of technology: optical media for the first, and flash drives for the second.

USB flash drives have proliferated wildly. I have one on my keychain; it's the fourth one I've owned. You can get a respectable 8GB of storage in a small portable form for under $20 now. That's a heck of a lot of data you can carry around. But what happens if it falls into someone else's hands?

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So, given that software based encryption is potentially vulnerable to hacking, just how good is TrueCrypt? I use it to keep personal information on my USB key from being misused if it's lost or stolen. Being open source, does that make it less vulnerable to the simple (in retrospect) programming mistake made by the compromised software used by SanDisk et al?

What about BitLocker? Is Microsoft's security prowess as easy to outwit?

Just because some software has proved particularly vulnerable, is it necessarily the case that all software based encryption schemes are inherently vulnerable, no matter how well written? What are the attack types that only hardware based encryption could defeat?

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TrueCrypt is excellent. As it is the article's more than a little incomplete, but I guess if a follow-up is coming... :)

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I gree, truecypt maybe the best solution; I have tried truecrypt truecrypt(www.truecrypt.org) and USB Security(http://www.abettersoft.com/usb-security.html). there are all great, truecrypt is opensource freeware; USB Security supports to encrypt part or whole of the external drive; you can view your encrypted data on any other computers without to install the encryption software. only type the password to access the encrypted external drive. good luck.

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